Bulldogs’ Johnson scores 4 TDs as Jackets’ season ends with 55-14 loss
Kingfisher has played its share of top-notch football teams in 2019.
From Bethany to Tuttle to Heritage Hall to Perkins-Tryon, the Jackets have met up with title contenders in multiple classes.
It might very well have played the best of the bunch last Friday night.
Dominant on both sides of the ball, Lincoln Christian advanced to the Class 3A semifinals with a 55-14 victory over the Yellow-jackets in the second round of the playoffs at Dennis Byrd Stadium in Tulsa.
“We knew coming in they were a really good team and they lived up to it,” said KHS head coach Jeff Myers.
Kingfisher’s season closed with a 7-5 record. All five losses were to teams who finished the regular season undefeated or just one loss.
Lincoln Christian was one of those undefeated squads. The Bulldogs needed just three plays to score on their fi rst possession and led 38-0 by halftime.
“We struggled to stop the big plays in their passing game, which is what you have to do. They strike with the big plays and they were able to do that,” Myers said.
“And at the same time, they were able to limit our abilities to make big plays.”
Kingfisher didn’t score until 5:44 of the third quarter when it already trailed 45-0.
Ironically, it was set up by a defensive play when Cade Stephenson stripped Lincoln Christian’s Connor Johnson after a reception and Mason Mecklenburg recovered it.
That gave KHS a short field and it covered the 18 yards in 1:39 when Stephenson plowed into the end zone from the 1.
The fumble was about the lone negative play for Johnson, or the rest of the Bulldogs for that matter.
The senior receiver entered the night with nearly 1,000 yards.
Against Kingfi sher, he caught nine passes for 216 yards and three scores.
The first two of those scores were on the Bulldogs’ third and fourth possessions.
Already up 10-0, Lincoln Christian got a 31-yard touchdown strike from Chase Ricke to Johnson. On the team’s next possession, they connected from 47 yards out as the Bulldogs led 24-0 with 8:53 to play in the half.
After the lead swelled to 31-0 with another Ricke TD too, this one to Chase Hudson, Johnson struck on the defensive side.
He snuck in front of a long Stephenson pass, picked it off and danced 55 yards for another touchdown just before half.
It was one of three interceptions for Johnson on the night.
Ricke had just one incomplete pass by the half and finished his night 16 of 19 through the air for 330 yards and fi ve TDs.
He found Johnson for a 19-yard touchdown on Lincoln Christian’s first possession of the second half.
Josh Kaste added 150 rushing yards on 18 carries for the Bulldogs.
Stephenson was 16 of 29 for 156 yards.
He threw an 8-yard touchdown pass to Clayton Abercrombie in the fourth quarter.
Stephenson added 97 yards on 21 carries while Mecklenburg had 15 on six attempts.
Keaton Abercrombie caught five passes for 37 yards. Clayton Abercrombie’s four catches total 51 yards while Jarret Birdwell and Reese Hart had three catches apiece.
Keaton Abercrombie led the team with nine tackles.
Hayden Stafford finished with seven.
Riley Myers and Wes Hine had fi ve apiece.
“Our guys never gave up,” Myers said. “Even when we were down big at the half, they came out and continued to play hard.
“It’s not easy in a game like that, but I’m proud they stayed after it.”
This was the 15th time in 16 years a Myers-coached Kingfisher team reached the second round of the playoffs.
“Some good teams got beat in the second round and I feel we’re one of those good teams,” Myers said. “Heck, some good teams didn’t even make it this far. It’s not easy. We just went up against a buzzsaw and it wasn’t our night.
“That doesn’t take away from what I thought was a good season where we did some things the guys should always be proud of those moments.”